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GPS' challenges

  • It will be a positive thing for the people of Sarawak if elected reps from PH component parties stand alongside GPS reps over issues related to Sarawak's rights. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

Sin Chew Daily

The four former BN component parties in Sarawak quit the coalition on Tuesday to form a new local political alliance called Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).

Due to the dramatic changes in the entire political landscape, the state of Sarawak also needs to institute changes to fit into the big picture.

Whatever reasons that have prompted them to make the decision to leave BN, the reality is, the many challenges that lie before their eyes can no longer be dealt with in the old BN way. They need to have a brand new set of strategies.

GPS strives to defend the right of the state of Sarawak in accordance with the nation-building covenant of 1963, and indeed they need to make Sarawakians see the changes they are going to institute in the state administration and management before convincing the people that they can really defend the right of Sarawakians.

Of course, GPS has some level of experience in ruling the state of Sarawak. However, the general elections held a month ago showed that Malaysian voters have opted for change, signalling tremendous challenges the new alliance is going to face in the years to come.

GPS remains an opposition pact in the federation although it stresses that it will maintain a good working relationship with the Pakatan Harapan federal administration. Such a strategy is absolutely essential and will help the state seek greater rights and sovereignty vis-à-vis the federal government, especially in oil exploration right.

GPS controls 19 seats in the Parliament, meaning it will remain an important ally for Pakatan Harapan to strengthen its grip in the Parliament. Both sides can work together on various issues, and PH needs GPS cooperation in implementing its reform agenda.

GPS decision to work with the PH federal government is a boon to the latter. If they are able to harness such a cordial working relationship and the prevailing political situation, they will be in a better position to negotiate greater rights and sovereignty from the federal government.

That said, PH component parties DAP and PKR will remain opposition parties in the state and this delicate relationship among the parties is poised to dictate the directions on a number of issues Under such circumstances, it will be a positive thing for the people of Sarawak if elected reps from PH component parties stand alongside GPS reps over issues related to Sarawak's rights.

Nevertheless, GPS will continue to pitch themselves against PH politically. The federal government still holds the reins of delegating more powers to the state government, and GPS needs to let the people in Sarawak see that they are capable of doing something, or they will lose their competitive advantage come the next state elections.

The next state elections will put the GPS-PH relationship to a major test.

 

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